Tuesday, September 28, 2010

DIY Groceries

If there's one thing that nearly every green guru, food guru, and vegetarian magazine I've read agrees on, it's that we're using too many processed foods in our diet. It's healthier and better for the planet, many say, to make your own food if you have the time and the know-how.

But where can you find that sort of know-how? I know that I'm fairly kitchen-savvy. Thanks to the web, I can google a lot of things if I realize I can make them. But if I don't know that I can make them, I'm kind of stuck.

For example: I was out of baking powder. I've never used much baking powder, nor had I looked at the label and attempted to decipher exactly of what baking powder is composed. I was flipping through the internet, and by random chance, I stumbled onto a recipe for vegan baking powder. To my shock, it wasn't that complex:

1/4 c baking soda.
2 tbsp cream of tartar
2 tbsp cornstarch

That was all that's in my mysterious baking powder can. Really. And when I did some more checking, I found that it also didn't contain aluminum derivatives for preservation, and that this recipe will last a month or so if kept dry.

It gets me thinking. We take so many premade things as black boxes when we really could just make them at home. It eliminates preservatives and many other problems, and lets us use local produce and ingredients that meet our standards. For a great reference, check out the book series "Make Your Own Groceries" by Daphne Metaxas Hartwig. I grew up with these books and they work wonders.

What do you make that most people normally buy? Tell me in the comments.

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